DA: Statement by Athol Trollip, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader, on the Presidential Hotline (14/09/2009)

14th September 2009

The DA welcomes the establishment of the Presidential hotline. It is a wonderful initiative which, if properly implemented, can make a real and tangible difference to the way in which South Africa's public representatives perform in government. Accountability is one of the cornerstones of good governance and this hotline represents a commitment to that principle; as such, we hope it is a sign of good things to come. However, the hotline will live or die by the consequences it produces. In other words, it cannot become a one-way outlet for public anger, that does nothing more than allow South Africans to register a complaint. If it is to have a real impact, it needs to produce outcomes. And those outcomes must take the form of action against those individuals who abuse public faith for their own ends. This concern is not unfounded. The ANC government has a long and detailed history of failing to hold those guilty of corruption and mismanagement to account, often favouring political connectivity over accountability. From Eskom, through to Travelgate, there are a litany of examples of corruption and mismanagement being explained away without any consequences. This is not just the DA's view, increasingly the ANC itself is coming to this conclusion. By way of illustration, this past weekend, the ANC's outgoing Eastern Cape leader Stone Sizani said that one of the worst attributes of the ANC's administration was the way it ignored failure: "The worst example of this is the recycling of failure in and out of the (provincial) system; that is, if you fail as a politician you are recruited as a civil servant and vice versa." It is clear that consequences will be the real test of the hotline. In this regard the DA will be doing the following: Every week, as part of our commitment to good governance and oversight, we will be registering those examples of corruption and mismanagement recorded in the press or that are brought to our attention, with the hotline. We will keep a register of the complaints and, each week on a Friday, I will release a statement to the public detailing the nature of the complaints we have registered. With time, we will then pursue through parliamentary questions what outcomes the Presidency has overseen with regard to each of these complaints. It is the DA's sincere hope that the Presidential hotline comes to embody the principles that underlie its establishment. We share the Presidency's commitment to fighting corruption and we will do our utmost to help this initiative work.